The debate regarding the whether Capital punishment is morally right or wrong has been going on since the death penalty was introduced as a measure of punishing various offenders/ criminals in different nations around the globe. This paper will make arguments that support the enforcement of capital punishment in the country. This paper will also seek to show the faults in the arguments made by those who are against capital punishment.
The position of various individuals/ nations on this issue is informed by certain issues. For instance, the decision to support the death penalty depends on what various individuals view as being more important-retribution or deterrence. Individuals who think that the victims of the activities of criminals need to confront the offender and have their revenge will normally be in favor of capital punishment. On the other hand, individuals who believe that the punishment meted out to criminals should focus more on serving as a deterrent to other individuals with any intent of committing crimes are greatly opposed to the death penalty.
Another argument in this debate is that societies with higher crime rates are more likely to be in support of the death penalty because they are fed up with the high death rates and other crime effects on their community. This argument further states that people who live in relatively crime free environments may not necessarily understand the devastation that the activities of criminals such as murderers and robbers cause. For this reason, this latter category is vehemently opposed to the death penalty. However, people who have had no real encounter with the effects of crimes committed by the criminals they are defending have absolutely no authority to judge those who support capital punishment.
Individuals who are strictly opposed to the death penalty also argue that the use of this form of criminal punishment contravenes the criminals??™ right to life. However, what such individuals fail to take into account is the fact that, as with all other International human rights, an individual??™s right to life can be denied if this same individual denied another person the same right. In this case then, it is only right that a murderer pays for his crime by giving up his right to life just like he took away another persons life. Some criminals are very notorious and by the time they are caught by law enforcement agencies they will have committed more than two dozen murders. If an individual has led to such an enormous loss of human life, how then can it be moral to insist on the protection of this individual??™s right to life when they themselves have shown no appreciation for the lives of others
The main role of the justice systems in various countries is to ensure that there is the implementation of justice and fair treatment in society. In most societies, capital punishment is proposed as a means of punishing only the most severe and perverted criminals whose existence continues to cause great suffering to other members of the human race. When dealing with criminals such as rapists, pedophiles who repeatedly attack children, terrorists and violent robbers, the death penalty is both just and fair. It is through unfair to give criminals better treatment than they give to their victims. When individuals and governments argue against the death penalty, they fail to take into account the welfare of the victims who do not get fair treatment. It is by no means fair or just to give such criminals life while their victims do not get much justice.
A common utilitarian argument in support of capital punishment is that it ensures that criminals who have a tendency to repeat their crimes do not go back into society and repeat the same offense. Studies have shown that Criminals who rape and murder children, murderers and even terrorists all have an inherent tendency to repeat these same crimes if they are allowed to go back into society or even if they are allowed to serve jail sentences. Apart from death, there is no other real definitive measure that can rid such criminals of their criminal tendencies. Death is therefore the only way to ensure that in the future, such criminals do not repeat their grave offenses against humanity (Vidmar, 1974).
Those opposed to the death penalty claim that this is not an effective punishment measure against criminals. However, the death penalty is perhaps one of the most effective punishment measures in terms of accomplishing the two main motives of any punishment measures; retribution and deterrence. The death penalty is perhaps one of the most satisfying reprieves that a victim of crime can get. This means the measure does achieve retribution. Because of the definitive life ending aspect of capital punishment, it is effective in deterring other criminals from committing similar offense. If criminals know that their activities could cost them their lives if they are caught, they are less likely to commit crimes that will put them in this position (Radelet & Lacock, 2009).
In todays, economic environment, governments have to be more careful about how they spend tax payer??™s money. Tax payers in various countries ensure that their governments act responsibly by vetting how their money is used. In light of this, most people are greatly opposed to the use of tax payers??™ money in the support of criminals who fill up the various jails in the country. It is quite irresponsible for governments to take criminals off the streets where they were fending for themselves and put them in jail facilities where the government then has to cater for their upkeep. The death penalty is an alternative worth considering when dealing with criminals whom, if given a jail sentence, end up serving a life sentence during which they will be supported using public funds. Considering the great injustices that such criminals have already inflicted on society it is unfair to expect this same society to provide for their upkeep through their taxes.
Religion is a key consideration point in the debate surrounding the death penalty. The opponents of the death penalty say that religions such as Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and even Hinduism prohibit the murder of another human being even if the murder is used as a punishment measure. To this group of people, capital punishment amounts to a government decision that shouldn??™t be made by any human being but only by a divine creator. Nevertheless, this argument is easily refuted by the proponents of capital punishment because once proven guilty, a murderer should be treated with the same measure that he treated his victims. Religious books such as the bible have several doctrines which support the principle of retribution which can be used when dealing with people who violate the rights of others.
Some of the vilest criminals are those who violate the right of vulnerable in society such as children. Over the past decade incidents of child sexual abuse and murder of children have been on a steady increase in most societies. This trend is very worrying because sexual offenders usually attack children who trust them explicitly such as the children of family members or neighbors. Because of the increase in number of these crimes, government agencies are under pressure to put in place sterner laws when dealing with sex offenders (Greenblatt, 2006).
Some law makers have recommended the introduction of the death penalty to punish sex offenders.So far; this recommendation has been met with resistance by various individuals. Those opposed to such a move say that such a move would be unfair if the criminals have only committed sexual assault and not murder. However, what these individuals fail to take into account is the fact that the lives of minors/ children who are assaulted in this manner are forever tainted and even in adulthood, such children are not able to realize their full potential because someone took their innocence at an early age. No child should be deprived of his or her childhood and criminals who do this should be punished by being denied the right to live.
Studies indicate that there is no environment in which children can be totally safe from sex offenders. Even in churches abuse goes on and in most cases is not reported until the victims grow up. To stop this child abuse trend, it is important to formulate methods of deterring other members of society from committing this crime. Currently, sex offenders who have served their jail sentence are allowed to go back into society where they put other children at risk. The fact that such criminals can perform such beastly acts and still be allowed back into society goes against the search for justice. Sex offenders who are yet to be caught rarely make nay attempt to seek help for their conditions because they have no motivation to do so. If Pedophiles knew that their habits could lead to their death, then maybe they would be more willing to seek help.
Over the past several years, the arguments against capital punishment have taken a new scientific dimension. Scientists today argue that one of the scientific methods used to establish the guilt of suspense is largely inconclusive and as such, it would be unfair to execute criminals based on the proof of guilt attained during such methods. One of these methods of collecting proof is the use of DNA testing to establish if the suspect was at the scene of the crime for which he is being prosecuted (Aronson & Cole, 2009).
Even though DNA testing is quite reliable and is even accurate to a certain extent, scientists argue that such evidence is still based on probability and not certainty. The opponents of the death penalty who make use of this scientific argument claim that if human life is to be taken away, then law enforcement agencies shall be able to establish the guilt of these criminals beyond any shadow of doubt.
The reasoning behind this idea is quite correct since it would be a double injustice for an innocent individual to pay for a crime he did not commit by death. However, the suggestion that the death penalty should simply be scrapped because of faulty evidence analysis processes is not the solution. Since the government has the necessary resources to ensure that evidence analysis procedures are performed accurately, these resources should be used to do just that. Even though one form evidence such as DNA may not be conclusive in itself, a combination of evidence collected through various other methods can be used to judge whether a suspect who is facing the death penalty is guilty or not. If law enforcements agencies steer away from using mostly circumstantial evidence to put individuals on death row this will ensure that only criminals who deserve this punishment are punished in this way. The government??™s commitment to ensuring that only guilty individuals are executed is illustrated in the low number of executions that take place each year. Even though there are thousands of criminals on death row, the government??™s execution process is very slow in order to allow for time when fresh evidence may be provided by the condemned criminals on death row.
However, some aspects of the death penalty perhaps need to be re-thought. For instance executing mentally challenged individuals who have committed murder is unfair. These individuals do not have the mental capacity to be held accountable for their actions. Nevertheless, this should not in any way be used as an argument to exonerate such individuals from bearing any responsibility. If mentally challenged individuals have committed a crime that warrants the death penalty, it should be considered that if let back into society, there is no way of ensuring that such people will not repeat the same crime and plead insanity. For this reason, such individuals should bear some responsibility and serve life sentences in mental facilities. Even though not as severe as the death penalty, a life sentence will serve as a deterrent for criminals who commit murder and plead insanity or temporarily insanity even though they are not mentally ill at all (Jost, 2001).
However, there are several aspects of the death penalty that need to be extensively debated such as the age limits of criminals who can be punished using the death penalty. Such debate will iron out the issue of whether underage juveniles can be held responsible for actions they commit such as murder. Another issue that needs to be debated is the methods used in executing criminals who are sentenced to death. Just like on the issue of proof of guilt or innocence, extensive research should be undertaken to ensure that faulty executions do not compromise the moral arguments that necessitate the use of capital punishment (Stenberg, Cauffman, Woolard, Graham, & Banich, 2009).
All in all, there is no doubt that the spirit behind the death penalty is a noble one since it seeks to make sure that the punishment for certain a crime such as murder and sexual abuse reflects the seriousness of the crime committed. This form of punishment also ensures retribution is achieved and that fairness and justice is granted to the victims of the criminal activities committed. Capital punishment should be allowed and if possible the number of executions carried out in the country per year should be increased.